Just a short 525 kms and I’m back in the safe confines of the vault here at Mike’s Take. My somewhat annual trip to the Monster Bash in Mars, Pennsylvania has come to a conclusion. Of course I saw a bucketful of movies and dropped a few dollars in the dealer room. This year’s June gathering offered up a devilish flavor of Hammer with Martine Beswick, Veronica Carlson and Christopher Neame on hand to meet the fans and field questions during their Q&A sessions.

So here’s a look at some of the fun you missed on and of course a few glimpses at the memorabilia I’ve added to the personal collection that may never see the light of day for years to come. Yeah I’m a hoarder when it comes to posters, lobby cards and pretty much anything to do with movies.

House of Frankenstein on 16mm was a treat with the projector clicking in the darkness

I’m no longer surprised at the amount of Elvis merchandise out there or where it may turn up. Yes even at the Monster Bash.

Miss Beverly Washburn entertains us with stories from her early years as a child star on Shane and Old Yeller before moving on to her love of Lou Costello and working with him on his one dramatic performance in a Wagon Train episode. She spoke lovingly of Loretta Young and gave the crowd what they wanted talking of the now cult favorite Spider Baby and working with Lon Chaney Jr. A friendly lady who was kind hearted and thankful to all who came.

One of the many life sized statues on hand. This one spotlighting both Hammer and Christopher Lee.

A couple of wonderful Lugosi renditions to give us all a scare.

The Monster Bash Band entertained with some classic Rock including the perfectly suited Werewolves of London.

Being both a Bond gal and a Hammer Glamour Babe, Martine Beswick had plenty of funny stories to share with the crowd of enthusiastic fans. She had kind words for the likes of Terence Young, Ralph Bates, Sean Connery and had us all thinking she’d have made one hell of an awesome Cruella De Vil.

Tom Savini is a staple of the Monster Bash and this year gave an F/X demonstration involving his shooting some guests who were wired with squibs and packets of blood. Just like they do it in the movies.

Christopher Neame who Hammer fans will always refer to as Johnny Alucard shared stories from his lengthy career in both movies, stage and television.

For my money, the best film historian in print and video commentaries, Gregory William Mank was on hand to do a presentation on the life and career of Laird Cregar. Cregar was an outstanding character actor who would die at just 31 years of age leaving just a handful of films behind for us to remember him by. A sad story in the end but one that needs to be told. Mank has a new book out on the hefty actor who basically died as a result of starving himself on a crash diet.

I could almost have subtitles this gallery “When Mike’s Take Met Miss Carlson.” What a lovely lady. I’d seen her here a few years ago but at that time didn’t own any classic memorabilia to bring along. This time I solved that problem by bringing two items which led to her and I having a great laugh. She burst my balloon when she broke the news to me that it isn’t her on the original one sheet release of Dracula Has Risen From the Grave for North American audiences. Still she’s used to signing them to keep the illusion alive. This proved to be a great treat. What a dear sweet lady who gave freely of her time to all the fans who made the journey.

Among the few DVD’s and blu rays I brought home to the movie room, I did secure this classic Hammer one sheet I’d been hungering to taste for many a year.

McFarland Publishers were on hand with a table in the dealer room and believe me you could drop your entire roll in a matter of seconds if you’re not careful. Pricey they may be but for films buffs they offer up a first rate product on most any genre of films and eras. I highly recommend looking them up if you haven’t already.

I secured one volume that caught my eye from noted historian, Tom Weaver, another Monster Bash regular.

And lastly … did you say Noir? Who other than yours truly can go to a monster movie festival and uncover some great lobby cards and images of the Noir genre?

Lee Marvin.

Edmond O’Brien.

Robert and Liz Taylor.

Dane Clark. An early Hammer Production I should point out.

Wait, hold on. Just one more thing. A little respect please for John Saxon seen on this great lobby card I picked up as well. It’s really a two for one as it’s from the great Mario Bava.

There were a few other items but I’ll keep them tucked away for another day.

Still to come is a wrap up of the movies I sat in on including a new title that’s made to order for fans of Hammer.